Friday, January 23, 2009

Africa Partnership Station 2009 Kicks off with USS Nashville Departure

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Charles L. Ludwig, Africa Partnership Station 2009 Public Affairs

The amphibious transport dock ship USS Nashville (LPD 13) departs on a six-month deployment to the coast of west and central Africa to support Africa Partnership Station (APS). APS is a U.S. Naval Forces Europe-led initiative, executed by a multi-national staff aboard Nashville, designed to contribute to maritime safety and security in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Ash Severe/Released)

USS NASHVILLE, At Sea (NNS) -- Africa Partnership Station (APS) 2009 kicked off Jan. 15, as USS Nashville (LPD 13) and the embarked Commander, Destroyer Squadron 60 departed from Naval Station Norfolk.

The team is now headed to West Africa for the Navy's second "banner" APS deployment, an international initiative developed by the Naval Forces Europe and Naval Forces Africa that aims to improve maritime safety and security in West and Central Africa. Nashville's deployment for APS doubles as the ship's final deployment, with it slated for decommissioning September 2009.

"Solidifying friendships and building new ones to ensure safer ports and waterways for Africa and the world's commerce that travels them is our unified goal," said Capt. Cindy Thebaud, APS 2009 commander and DESRON 60 commodore. "The fact that this initiative has been built at the request of our African partners, and we execute it side-by-side with an embarked team of officers and civilian specialists from 20 different countries sends a clear message. The responsibility of maritime security truly is a global effort."

During APS 2009, Nashville will make port calls in five West African countries – Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Gabon. APS training will include professional exchanges on seamanship, environmental stewardship, and maritime awareness, along with numerous humanitarian and civic outreach opportunities.

"When you look throughout our ship, you now see a diverse staff of naval officers all wearing the different uniforms of their countries" said USS Nashville's commanding officer Capt. Tushar Tembe.

"Africa Partnership Station has brought us all together to work a unified effort…at the end of the workday; we are all just maritime professionals…all sailors working side by side. It's a tremendous example for my crew."